After months of grappling with huge losses the Indian entertainment industry is set to bounce back with some good news on foyer. As per the latest guidelines which are a part of Unlock 3.0, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is likely to permit the cinemas to reopen in August when guidelines of next unlock set will be imposed.
The results are being attributed to the attempts by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting according to the experts in entertainment industry, where it has written to MHA to consider reopening of theaters which have been non-operational since lockdown was started in mid-March.
Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Cinemas said, “We’re extremely hopeful of getting permissions starting August and hope to resume across states by the end of September.”
The documents and SOPs (standard operating procedures) have been ensured and are well in place to be implemented for cinema reopening in Unlock 3.0, commented Devang Sampat, Director, Multiplex Association of India (MAI).
However, it is still unsure what all and if any more than listed restrictions would be imposed once the reopening commences. Also the status of operating hours is not clear at this moment. With many states like Bihar and Tamil Nadu still under lockdown, the road ahead of reopening in these states is in question. The entertainment hub, Maharashtra is also experiencing continuous spikes of positive cases, so there also the situation is tricky.
Meanwhile, theatre chains pan India are investing and have successfully chalked out their protocols for safety and hygiene to ensure safety of public and staff. PVR has adopted a contactless transaction system in which the customers would have to just scan the QR codes through their phone to book tickets and order food and beverage services. Cash would be accepted only in exceptional cases where the customer doesn’t have phone or is not willing to make digital payment. But physical tickets would not be sold in any case.
Theatre entrances have also been fitted with sensors to do thermal checks for all people entering. In case of failed temperature check entry wouldn’t be allowed for that person. Washroom taps too have been installed with sensors to provide touchless areas.
With losses over INR 1000 crore in lockdown since March, Indian entertainment industry, the biggest in world, has faced the worst four months financially. This reopening is sure to set a road to recovery for the industry.
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